The Andrea Harris Social, Economic, Environmental, and Health Equity Task Force
released its second biannual report
providing an update on the implementation of policy recommendations addressing disparities in communities of color disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The initial report
, released in December 2020, highlighted the Task Force's five subcommittees, short and long-term goals, and proposed several recommendations including telemedicine, Medicaid expansion, workforce development, improving digital literacy and support for Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers. Since the release of its first report
in December 2020, the Task Force developed a policy implementation plan in collaboration with the Office of the Governor, RTI International, NC Department of Administration, and other supporting cabinet agencies, focusing on five key areas.
"Andrea Harris was a friend of mine, and I know she'd be proud of how people from different walks of life have come together to work to eliminate the barriers our communities of color have faced for too long,"
Governor Roy Cooper said. "I'm grateful for the Task Force's hard work to implement these policies and look forward to continued progress."
"Helping our state's diverse populations get back on their feet post-pandemic is just one of the missions of the Task Force,"
said NC Department of Administration Secretary Pamela B. Cashwell, who chairs the Task Force. "Our ultimate goal is to improve disparities within these communities, building a North Carolina that works for everyone."
Organized by subcommittee topic, the report highlights the progress state agencies and partnering organizations made for implementing policy recommendations
in the five key areas of access to healthcare, economic opportunity and business development, educational opportunity, environmental justice and inclusion, and patient engagement. Subcommittees have worked alongside key stakeholders to develop plans, prososals, policies, and actions that will make communities more equitable. Such progress includes developing an accessible and culturally inclusive digital literacy toolkit, and creating or expanding diversity, equity, and inclusion positions within most state cabinet agencies.
Current levers for implementation include but are not limited to legislation, agency action, community engagement, the Governor's proposed budget for FY 2021–2023, and the Governor's proposed use of state American Rescue Plan dollars and Emergency Education Relief Fund.
For the last six months, the Task Force, Governor's Office, and cabinet agencies began the initial works to implement the 2020 policy recommendations. Keeping Governor Cooper's budget priorities in perspective, agencies are formulating plans of action for implementation and working internally and externally to accomplish many of the goals set out in the recommendations.
To learn more about the Task Force and view the second biannual report, visit HERE
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